Visually stunning if somewhat plot deficient, Beast and Feast follows the forbidden and truly torrid romance between Hyodo and Kazuha, a Yakuza and detective.
This is pretty much the most classic cop x criminal story possible, in which childhood not-particularly-friends have grown up and gone down opposite paths, reconnecting thanks to a criminal investigation. We learn that Hyodo, the Yakuza, has carried a torch for Kazuha, the detective, for many years, though the story would work just as well if this weren’t the case.
Hyodo of course takes the opportunity to demand sex from Kazuha as payment for information. Kazuha successfully refuses this coercion, but Hyodo ultimately gets what he wants after rescuing Kazuha from a separate group of miscreants.
It seems both parties feel Hyodo is entitled to have his way with Kazuha in light of having rescued him, which is quite disturbing, but since I doubt anyone views yaoi as a bastion of healthy sexual mores, no harm done.
After an intriguing setup and astonishingly hot first encounter, the plot hits a bit of a rough patch. Actually, said rough patch lasts the whole rest of the book. There are minor hills climbed but no real climax; just a series of oddly heteronormative emotional struggles and minor crime related drama that is all resolved quickly and somehow never feels urgent.
Even the most nearly compelling plotline evaporates in a convenient deus ex machina, just in time to wrap up the book with a superfluous side story about the heroes’ history together.
Overall Beast and Feast reads like a salaryman romance, as if it couldn’t commit to any of the grit of the Yakuza genre. Our Yakuza doesn’t even have any tattoos!
Even if the story is hardly pulse-quickening, the smex decidedly is! And there’s a lot of it. Sexual language and images are not sanitized in any way, and this is a very manly couple with very manly bodies. Sweat drips, blush blossoms, and the panels veritably pulse with energy. There is a beastial nature to the sex and our heroes appear as predator and prey, tense and heaving. If you are a reader who values these scenes especially this is a book not to be missed!
The art all around is terrific. The design of the main characters is well considered and develops their personalities. This is particularly true in the case of Hyodo, who with his bright eyes and prominent canines (not to mention active tongue…), is every inch the eponymous beast.
The author uses chibis, caricatures, and implied line sparingly but very effectively, sometimes communicating more with missing information. The art elevates the star score of this book significantly and makes it a valued denizen of my collection.
Overall, Beast and Feast is a title that I’m sure readers will revisit many times, even if it is flipping through to find the sex scenes. These are some of yaoidom’s most gorgeous characters and the relationship really is sweet at the end of the day. Don’t buckle up for a story that will stick with you, but look forward to a visual feast of beautiful beasts!
Review by Dot Ringo
Black Sun has been one of my favorites for years. It is a shining denizen of that strange genre that draws from an historical framework, and is at once pure fantasy.
We meet our heroes, a general of the Approximately Ottoman Empire, and a prince who has just failed to protect his fortress from falling to the imperial army. The prince is to be the next conquest of course, trading his freedom and chastity for the lives of the fort’s inhabitants.
As the pages turn, the scope of the story gradually irises out more and more until what started as a personal passion more or less only concerning the central characters develops into a much greater conflict with implications far beyond them.
Be aware that this story starts with quite a lot of rape, and it could easily be argued that this is a Stockholm Syndrome story. Our darling uke will experience this assault outside the central relationship as well. If this will not sit well with you, please be warned.
This story structure is graceful, exciting, and very action-packed. Each character is satisfyingly wrapped up, and the side stories included in both volumes give the story both depth and levity.
The cast of supporting characters are each more engaging than the last, from the Emperor, to the wicked turncoat knight, all the way down to the palace’s pet panther. The characters each have a well considered, voice, character, and look, and each one has a backstory that the reader comes to understand not through exposition so much as storytelling.
It is very impressive how the author is able to fully develop such a complex story and so many complex character, with so much smexy time, in only two volumes and not have it feel rushed anywhere or have dry stretches.
The action is hot and plentiful, especially since it is uncensored! The bodies are beautiful and their endowments are certainly impressive. No matter what the characters are up to the proportions and movement are always on point, communicating tension in the right places and practically vibrating on the page.
Black Sun definitely exhibits that classic yaoi syndrome of heteronormalizing gay sex and simply not considering real life mechanics whatsoever, which can be a bit distracting if you’re sensitive to it, but there is plenty great enough about this book to make it a non issue.
The art is gorgeous and the world is truly sumptuous; Faux-historical Fantasy at its yummiest! I especially enjoy the costumes, and mercy me, our heroes (and everyone else) are hot. Ogasawara definitely has a mold that she uses to make faces, but they are always expressive and it’s always easy to tell characters apart because they’re so well designed. A convincing context is created well within the history that inspired it.
I sincerely recommend Black Sun, and I suggest purchasing the pair together for sure. The first volume ends so dramatically, I was very grateful I didn't have to wait for the conclusion. Unlike some multi-volume stories, this one's pace is consistent and exemplary across both books.
Juné's Psyche Delico Kickstarter has officially ended and for those following along and picking up the clues have already come to realize the news: Psyche Delico will be at YaoiCon 2017!!
Psyche Delico is a Japanese boys’ love/yaoi author. Her stories range from light hearted romance to heated passionate affairs. She first started publishing her own yaoi manga in 2008 with “The Rest is a Love Thing?!” and now has over 15 published works.
This year, YaoiCon will have two guest of honor with both Psyche Delico and Sakira sharing the spotlight. Both artists will have autograph sessions throughout the weekend, as well as Q&A panels.
YaoiCon is October 6-8 in Santa Clara, California. Get reduced presale tickets before they sell out and come meet some wonderful BL mangakas!
You’ve been asking and Juné has been listening; our first ever digital-to-print yaoi Kickstarter is here! We could not think of a better author to launch this brand-new project with other than our best-selling digital author: Psyche Delico! From one of our very first DMG digital titles, Pure Love’s Sexy Time Volume 1, to brand new releases like Eroman, four titles will be made from being digital exclusives to print. Psyche Delico’s work has been gaining popularity in Japan due to its steamy nature and its unique southern dialects.
In addition to pledging to these books, Psyche Delico has provided Juné with some unique original art based off her beloved characters. Chibi acrylic keychains, postcards, and even a two sided dakimakura body pillow case will be available exclusively for backers!
Juné will also be providing its usual round of add-ons including discounted print titles and Juné merch.
Been itching for restocks? The HIGHLY requested, critically acclaimed novel series Ai no Kusabi volumes 1 through 8 will be available for additional add-ons (or even its very own tier if Psyche isn’t your thing).
Interested in attending YaoiCon 2017 with some extra perks? Our Kickstarter will have three available tiers for backers. In addition to getting all four Psyche Delico books and tickets to the con, YaoiCon backers will receive customized YaoiCon shirts and a Little Tokyo snack and care package for added comfort to their YaoiCon weekend.
Girls don't want boys, girl's want...boys and more boys? Juné Manga has just released their stats outlining the differences between yaoi fans of the past and yaoi fans today.
Juné has not only brought this genre to the West, but the publisher hopes to blur the lines between comics for women and comics for the LGBT community. Their new genre "yabara" combines the words "yaoi" and "bara", and plans on combining the erotic tone of bara with the story driven character development of yaoi. This new infographic provides a study on female based fandom as a whole, and the direction it's going in with the addition of LGBT input.